Louisville Men’s Basketball has a legacy of championships and champions. The program has won three national titles in its history (You can’t tell us the fans not to honor and recognize 2013, NCAA). Next Tuesday, December 3rd, when the Cards host their biggest non-conference home game of the year against Michigan, Louisville Athletics is set to unveil a Final Four MOP Banner.
Three names will be stitched into this fabric and hoisted high above Denny Crum Court; three names that are stitched into the fabric of Cardinal history: Darrell Griffith, Pervis Ellison, and Luke Hancock.
Griffith was a Louisville native that made a promise to deliver a title to his hometown, and the university that represents it, before his college days were done. As if written by the greatest of Hollywood scribes, he did just that in his senior year as he led the Cards to the 1980 title. He scored 34 points in the semifinal game and 23 of the Cards 59 total points in the title game against the legendary UCLA Bruins to earn his Final Four MOP, and the undying gratitude of an entire university and city.
Never Nervous Pervis Ellison was a freshman sensation nationally during the 86 tournament. He was unflappable and unstoppable. Ellison averaged a double-double during the Final Four. In the semifinal game, he scored 11 points and grabbed 13 boards. In the title game against Duke, led by Coack K and college basketball personality Jay Bilas, Ellison dominated scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 boards. Ellison was only the second freshman in NCAA history, at that point, to earn Final Four MOP honors.
Then there is Luke Hancock. Hancock was a transfer from George Mason that worked through a tough injury to become a fan favorite and team captain. Hancock scored 20 in the semifinal against Wichita State and 22 in the title game against Michigan. He hit 4 threes in a row to help bring the Cards back from 12 down and seize the momentum in that title game. His play and leadership helped him become the first reserve player ever to earn Final Four MOP honors.
It is fitting this banner will be raised on the night the Cards battle the very team that they defeated in 2013. Michigan visits the Yum Center as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Both Darrell Griffith and Luke Hancock will be in attendance for the banner unveiling. Pervis Ellison had previous commitments and, therefore, could not attend.
By the way, don’t forget to wear white because it’s a white out game! Hopefully, you can make it down to the KFC Yum! Center to see a big time game and honor some big time legends.
For more info on the banner and the players that will be honored on it, read UofL’s press release below.
*all stats courtesy of sports-reference.com
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
Louisville Will Unveil Final Four MOP Banner Dec. 3
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville will unveil a new banner in the KFC Yum! Center recognizing its three NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player honorees at halftime of its Dec. 3 men’s basketball game against Michigan at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Former Cardinal greats Darrell Griffith (1980), Pervis Ellison (1986) and Luke Hancock (2013) will have their names celebrated on a new banner to be hung in the southeast rafters of the Cardinals’ home arena, where additional individual honors are displayed to highlight the outstanding UofL Basketball tradition. Griffith and Ellison both have their numbers retired at UofL and have banners already in place with their images.
“Our legacy of championship basketball includes many great teams and individual players,” said Vince Tyra, UofL Vice President and Director of Athletics. “This is an opportunity for the university to permanently recognize, and show our appreciation for, the achievements of three former greats who pushed themselves and their team to the highest level of play. Our fans and their teams will never forget their success nor their teams’ success.”
Griffith and Hancock will be in attendance for the unveiling and will speak at halftime. Ellison, who is currently coaching, has a commitment that evening and is unable to attend.
The game will be the Cardinals’ annual “White Out” game when fans are encouraged to wear white attire for the ESPN televised game.
Griffith capped his senior season by leading Louisville to its first NCAA Championship. He poured in 34 points in a victory over Iowa in the national semifinals, connecting on 14-of-21 shots from the field, and added five rebounds. “Dr. Dunkenstein” scored 23 points against UCLA in the title game in Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena. His 57 combined points in the two games is the second-most scored in the Final Four by an individual in the last 41 years. In addition to earning the Most Outstanding Player honor, he received the 1980 John Wooden Award that season as the college basketball player of the year.
Ellison earned the Most Outstanding Player honor at the 1986 NCAA Final Four, just the second time a freshman had obtained the honor and the first since 1944. “Never Nervous Pervis” produced a double-double performance with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against LSU in the national semifinals. He led the Cardinals with 25 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots (10-of-14 FG) as UofL beat top-ranked Duke in the championship game. His tip-in with 41 seconds remaining and a pair of free throws soon thereafter helped the Cardinals close the game and earn the victory.
Hancock was honored as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 NCAA Final Four, the first non-starter to earn the honor in the event’s history. He did much of his damage beyond the arc, connecting on a Final Four record tying 8-of-10 three-pointers in the two games. In the national championship game against Michigan, he totaled 22 points, three assists and two steals, hitting all five of his three-point attempts, a Final Four record for three-point percentage. He had 20 points and four rebounds against Wichita State in the national semifinals, burying 3-of-5 threes.